small changes can lead to big differences.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

American Girl in London

The other day I decided to go to London, so I did.

I hopped on the 9pm flight from Chicago, knowing it was wide open and I could probably get a row of seats to myself so that I could stretch out and sleep. Upon arriving at O'hare, I discovered the 6pm flight was seriously delayed due to mechanical, so they were re-booking everyone onto my 9pm flight. What! So unfair! I even tried to volunteer myself to go on the delayed flight just because I knew it'd be wide open.. but alas, they ushered me onto the 9pm flight, inbetween two English men, including one who kept his shoes off the entire flight. Gross. We can smell your feet, my friend.

I took some melatonin (the best thing ever) and actually drifted off to sleep, even in the middle seat! I woke up and the sun was shining which REALLY confused me.

Upon landing in London, I stumbled around until I found the ATM and then the Tube. Following instructions I received from the guesthouse I was staying, I was to take the Piccadilly line to the Victoria line, then walk. No big deal! I still look pretty good after that 9 hour flight! I can walk in 3 inch heels, it's totally fine!

After I figured out how to buy a pass, I got on the train and when I got to my transfer point, I discovered that London just decided to shut down service on the Victoria Line. Okay. So I walked upstairs to find this:

Protesting/shutting down the streets

My new home. 

After wandering around some more, desperately trying to hail a cab but being so freaking confused about the wrong-way streets in London, I finally flagged one down and he had no idea where I was trying to go, but still accepted the challenge. 

the cabs in London have jumpseats. Just saying.
Finally, after paying way more than I can afford to get to my hostel, I ARRIVED! And I was still looking halfway decent! When I made it up to my dorm, I met a friendly girl from France named Eloïse and she invited me to go to Notting Hill, so of course I accepted! 

However, the protests/demonstrations continued to disrupt the streets and tube service, so we had to figure out a way to get their via bus. It proved to be incredibly difficult, and there was a language barrier between Eloïse and I, so much of the time we were not sure what each other was saying but we still had a blast. At one point, Eloïse found Burger King and I think she almost passed out from excitement. 

Somehow this place will get us to Notting Hill. 

Burger King makes dreams come true.. apparently. 


About six hours later, at dusk, we arrived at Notting Hill to find that the markets were all closing shop. There we met up with two of Eloïse's friends from Brazil who wanted to go find pubs and drink Guinness. ACCEPT. 

Once again, however, the streets were confusing and buses were confusing and I don't even know where we ended up or how we ended up here but it happened and it was great: 

dance floorrrr!!!!

The hostel made us wear those bracelets but then we discovered they gave us magical power. Or not. 

Eloïse  and I decided we were NOT dressed up for the club so we tried on the dresses I bought in Notting Hill. I think she looks great but she wasn't happy so we changed back into our street clothes :( 

The next day, our guy friends ditched us so we ventured out again, this time to Camden Street for more shopping. It was Eloïse's last day :( 

Camden street is a mixture of boutique/street markets/things I can buy in Asia for a fraction of the price. In fact, there were so many things that I had JUST seen in Bangkok for sale for triple the price! It was hilarious. There were also so many signs that said "no photography". And there was also this: 

Yep, and there was also this which made me happy. 

 After this fun day, Eloïse had to go back to France and the guys went on to Amsterdam. And truthfully, I was exhausted! From the moment I left my door in Chicago until the morning all three of my friends left London, I was out and about. The last day for me in London was filled with wandering around, sight-seeing, looking for Harry Potter at King's Cross, and eating food. I was ready to go home and I was happy to find that my plane ride home was empty and I finally got a row to myself :)